As we go around a lot of homes especially new properties we are seeing one underlying theme which will cost the home owner dearly in the future, form before function.

A lot of design in ‘finishes’ and bathroom fitments today lacks any regard to maintenance. Many bathrooms are now being fully tiled plus the installation of bathroom furniture designed to hide w.c. cisterns and pipework can often result in some general maintenance work costing several hundreds of pounds instead of £65 – £100.

All baths, basins, toilets and showers will need some sort of maintenance work in their lifetime and often on more than one occasion. If they are all tiled in with no access to the waste fittings and traps, taps or shower valves it will often mean damaging tiles which cannot be replaced with same as they are no longer available. A lot of sanitary fitments are now designed to look good with nice clean lines but make installation very difficult to the extent we cannot check the connections once fitted and this is not considered good practice.

Another problem is with tiled, laminate or engineered wood floor which all look very nice but if laid in a first floor bathroom or bedroom where there are electrical or plumbing services underneath it is almost impossible to gain access to these if there are any problems.

Also, laminate or engineered wood flooring over a solid floor in a kitchen/breakfast room can be dire. If the washing machine leaks (not uncommon) water gets under the flooring and it all has to be ripped up and thrown away to allow the floor to dry out. Very costly.

My advice, choose your sanitary ware wisely with consideration to access later on, vinyl on bathroom floors ( not too expensive to replace) plenty of access panels within tiling and use Karndean or Amtico on solid floors.